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Even a pandemic couldn’t put a stop to the things going on here at The Basilica the past several months. Via this column I’d like to update you on some of these things.
1. Fiscal Year End Summary: Enclosed within this bulletin you will find our 2021 Fiscal Year Annual Report. In an earlier bulletin I had mentioned that while we were running behind in our budgeted revenue for the past fiscal year, but we were also under budget in regard to our expenses. Additionally at the strong recommendation of our Parish Finance Committee, we applied for and received a PPP loan that was forgiven. And we also received Employee Retention Credits. Both of these helped us maintain our staff intact these past months, and will help us continue to retain them. All of the above combined to allow us to end the fiscal year in the black.
I am grateful to our staff for the terrific job they did in reducing and controlling expenses during the past year. I am also grateful, though, for the ongoing financial support of you, our parishioners. Your generosity is a blessing for our parish.
The Annual Report is also available online at mary.org/annualreport. Please contact the Development Office with questions.
Finally, because of your generosity—in our budgeting for next year—we are anticipating a small increase in our revenue. This is a testament to your care for and commitment to our parish community. As your pastor, I want you to know of my gratitude for your ongoing generosity. Please know it is greatly appreciated.
2. Revisit, Renew, Reconnect, and Re-envision: In a nutshell these four words describe what our staff has been doing the past several months in regard to our ministries at The Basilica and the volunteer efforts that make them possible. When the pandemic put everything on hold, one of the things this allowed us to do was to Revisit our various ministries and look at how to Renew and/or Re-envision them post pandemic.
Most recently we have been working to Reconnect with our volunteers, to see if they want to continue in a specific ministry. Very specifically, we have been doing this with our Liturgical Ministers and our St. Vincent de Paul volunteers. If you volunteered in either of these ministries, prior to the pandemic, we have been working to connect with you to see if you would like to resume your involvement, terminate it, suspend it, or become involved in a new way. If you haven’t been contacted yet, or if you’re interested in volunteering for either of these ministries, please contact the Liturgy Coordinator at email@example.com or Janice Andersen to volunteer for our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the above, Melissa Streit, our Director of Engagement has been working with MAVA (Minnesota Alliance for Volunteer Advancement) and a group from our staff to find new and better ways to engage volunteers and improve their volunteer experience at The Basilica. You can expect to hear more about these efforts in the months ahead.
As we emerge from the pandemic we are gradually resuming meetings and other activities at The Basilica. While I am sure there will be many aspects of our ‘”new” normal that will be familiar, at the same time it is not at all clear what our “new” normal ultimately will look like.
One of the things that has not and will not change, however, is our need for volunteers to staff our many ministries, services and programs that are at the heart of our Basilica community. If you volunteered at The Basilica prior to the pandemic, I would encourage you to reengage in your volunteer activity. If you are looking for ways to volunteer we have opportunities galore. In addition to our established ministries and services, we will also need volunteers to help in new and emerging areas like our livestreaming opportunities.
Volunteers are the life-blood of every parish. The Basilica is no exception to this. It is our hope that by Revisiting and Re-envisioning our various ministries, and by Reconnecting with our volunteers the many ministries of The Basilica will be Renewed and given new life. As pastor of The Basilica, I would encourage you to prayerfully consider in what ways you can volunteer to help our Basilica community as we emerge from the pandemic into a future full of hope.
3. Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI): For the past few years, The Basilica has recognized a need to address and respond to the issue of racism in our lives, our parish and our community. After meetings with Sarah Bellamy, an equity consultant, in the spring of 2019, and with the establishment of an EDI Leadership Team, a Position Statement was created to guide our efforts as we seek to respond to the sin of racism. We were challenged to do this particularly by the words of Pope Francis in reflecting on the death of George Floyd: “We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of human life.”
Responding to racism is a process not an event. And it is a process in which we all must be involved. Our EDI Team will hold a zoom session this summer to invite people to engage with the EDI Position statement & to lay out the goals we have identified to work on as a parish community. To find out more about the important work of EDI visit mary.org/edi.
4. Archdiocesan Synod: This Fall preparation for our Archdiocesan Synod will continue with the opportunity for parishioners to participate in small discussion groups. These small groups will give participants the opportunity to share their ideas to assist Archbishop Hebda in determining the Archdiocesan Synod Assembly topics. These topics in turn will guide Archbishop Hebda as he creates a pastoral plan for the future of the Archdiocese.
These small groups will meet weekly for six sessions between September 19 and November 14. More information about the Archdiocesan Synod can be found at mary.org/synod.
5. The Landmark Spark: As I mentioned previously, this year’s Landmark Spark Gala was held virtually on Saturday, May 15 and it was a huge success. Overall the event raised more than $200,000. And very specifically we were able to reach and surpass our Fund-Our-Mission goal of $100,000 by raising $117,000. With the money raised we will be able to add more air purification systems to our campus buildings; update our historic campus street lighting; install a permanent desk for our livestreaming equipment, as well as the maintenance projects listed in the item below.
6. Maintenance at The Basilica this summer: This summer, in addition to the smaller maintenance projects noted above, we also have two significant projects planned. The first is a grading and surface draining project around the exterior of our school building. We have had water infiltration issues for years in the lower level of our school building. With this project we hope to resolve this problem. While we had hoped to have this project completed by the Block Party, it now looks like this work will not be completed until late September/early October. Another major maintenance project is continuing to tuck point the western exterior walls of The Basilica. The 100 year mortar between the exterior stone blocks continues to deteriorate so our tuck-pointing will need to continue for the foreseeable future. This work ensures that The Basilica will remain a beacon of hope on the Minneapolis skyline. We are grateful that these projects will be funded by The Basilica Landmark.
In addition to the above projects, we have also installed, needlepoint bipolar ionization units in The Basilica School. These units, in addition to the ones we have already installed in the Church, the Teresa of Calcutta Hall, and the parish office building, will clean and sanitize the air of COVID-19, allergens, and other molds in the air. There are also some tech upgrades in progress in some of our meeting rooms. Going forward, we want to offer high quality virtual and hybrid ministry experiences. This upgrade is in progress in four rooms around the campus. Unfortunately, some of the equipment that has been ordered won’t arrive until later this year due to the computer chip shortage.
Finally, as I write this, we are looking at a way to remove the insulation that was sprayed on the side walls above the ceiling of The Basilica. While much of it has been removed, some of it landed in the groins above the windows. And unfortunately, because this insulation retains moisture, it has prevented the plaster above the windows from drying out. Removing this insulation will be an important step in preparing for the eventual restoration of the interior of The Basilica.
7. Parish Council Elections: I am pleased to inform you that in the recent elections for our Parish Council, My Lam (representing Christian Life) was elected and Andrea Lutterman (representing Learning) was reelected to our Parish Pastoral Council. I am also pleased to report that Jan Buczek has accepted appointment to the Council as an at large member; Trevor Adamek has accepted reappointment as the Finance Committee Representative to the Council; and Mara Stolee Cable has accepted appointment as the Development Committee representative to the Parish Council. I am very grateful to each of these individuals for their willingness to serve on our Parish Council.
The members of our Parish Council represent a cross section of our parish. The Parish Council meets monthly and works with me and our staff to determine the needs, aspirations, and direction of our parish. As such it plays a vital role in our parish community. I am enormously grateful to our Council members for sharing their insights and expertise as we work together to carry out the mission of our parish.
8. Staff Changes: On a sad note, in a few weeks we will say goodbye to Travis Salisbury, our Coordinator of Liturgical Celebrations for almost 20 years. During this time Travis as been an integral and crucial part of our Liturgy Team and our parish. To say he will be missed would be a gross understatement. While we are indeed sad to see Travis leave The Basilica, we are excited for him as he moves on to the next stage of his life and career. We wish him well and pray that God will bless him abundantly.
On a happier note, by the time you read this, Sam Holmberg, will have started in his role as our new organist and liturgical music associate. We are delighted to welcome Sam to our staff. If you have a few moments after Mass, I invite you to introduce yourself to him and welcome him to our Basilica family.
Rev. John M. Bauer
Pastor, The Basilica of Saint Mary
Adjust. Adapt. Pivot.
These three words have been our motto over the past year and a half as we have continued to serve our parish community throughout the pandemic. We have transitioned in countless ways including livestreaming liturgies, Zooming wedding prep and other classes, and distributing Holy Communion outside to people in their cars. In these very challenging times, we have looked to our faith for hope and guidance as we made and continue to make decisions that impact our liturgies, programs, and services.
In reflecting on the past fiscal year, concluding on June 30, 2021, it is good to review the accomplishments as well as the challenges of this year. One of our major accomplishments this past year was that we continued to build our virtual ministries and adapt other ministries so that they could be safely held in-person. The support and connection of our parish community during this time has been a blessing.
We reopened for in-person Mass in July of 2020 with new health and safety protocols for the common good of our community. And earlier this year, we were able to return to our full schedule of liturgies as we welcomed back many of our parishioners for in-person worship.
In addition to adapting to each new pandemic challenge, we also continued to emphasize and develop the Areas of Focus, identified in our Strategic Plan. Our commitment to the Arts, Inclusivity, and Homelessness has remained crucial to our community. As a sign of this commitment a few months ago we launched our parish Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity (EDI) initiative and we continue connect with our community partners.
Please know of my gratitude for your commitment to our parish community. As we move forward, our primary concern, as always, will be the safety, security and well being of all those who come to our campus.
Please remember, no matter what brings you to The Basilica, virtually or in-person, and wherever you are in your faith journey, you are welcome here.
Rev. John M. Bauer
Pastor, The Basilica of Saint Mary
Basilica Homecoming: Renew and Reconnect
Greetings once again from The Basilica of Saint Mary. I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during these challenging times.
Today I want to talk with you about where we are at currently and the challenges that we face as we move forward at The Basilica. With the rise of the Delta variant, I want to once again urge people to wear masks when you come for liturgies or other events at The Basilica.
At The Basilica, we have many children under the age of 12, who cannot be vaccinated yet, as well as many people with underlying health conditions. Given this, I think that asking people to wear a mask is one of the best things we can do to ensure their continued health and well being.
While it is heartening for me to see so many people back at The Basilica after many months, I want to make sure we are continuing to make The Basilica a safe place for them to be. As I have mentioned previously, in welcoming people back to worship, one of the challenges we face is resuming, renewing, and in some cases rebuilding our liturgical ministry teams. If you have been involved in our liturgical ministry and not been contacted yet, or if you are interested in becoming involved please contact Travis Salisbury.
As always, if you are not able, or don’t feel comfortable joining us in-person for any of our liturgies, we invite you join them via livestream. We will continue to livestream our daily Noon Mass and 9:30am Mass on Sundays. We are also looking for volunteers to help with this, so if you are interested in volunteering, please contact Mae Desaire.
On another topic, as part of the preparation for the upcoming Archdiocesan Synod, I want to invite you to participate in small group discussions to share your thoughts/ideas about the future of our Archdiocese. These groups will meet both on campus and remotely. You can register for one of these groups on our parish website. If you would like more information please contact Cathy Edwards in our parish office.
We are also looking for volunteers in our Faith Formation program and our R.C.I.A. program. You can call the Learning Office for more information about what this involves. During the coming weeks, we will be looking at bringing back on line more of our ministries. I will keep you informed as this happens.
Finally, I want to thank everyone for your ongoing financial support for The Basilica. As we begin to resume more activities on our campus, your financial support will be critical as we resume the many ministries, services and programs that are at the heart of our Basilica community. As your pastor, I want to thank you for your ongoing generosity. Please know it is greatly appreciated.
In closing, please know that as we move forward, our primary concern, as always, will be the safety and security of those who come to our campus. I will continue to keep you informed as we move forward into our new normal--whatever that may be. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about these changes I invite you to contact me at the parish office. My contact information is available on our parish website.
One final thing, tickets are still available for our Basilica Block Party this weekend.
Let me close today in prayer.
Loving God, it seems that we turn to you most easily when we need comfort, consolation and hope.
And so we come before you today, knowing that you are waiting for us, to shelter us in the shadow of your wings. In you may we find refuge and relief.
Dear God, these uncertain days tempt us to lose hope. “Pandemic” is a frightening word, and we can easily feel confused and helpless. And so we look to you to lead and guide us, and to keep any anxiety at bay. Strengthened by your love, help us to choose to let your peace reign in us.
Good and gracious God, help us also to be your compassion and love to those who are suffering and in need of our care. Help us to be generous and stay in contact with the forgotten and lonely. May our prayers and support be with our world and national leaders, scientists, health care providers, and all who are instrumental in overcoming this crisis.
We look to you O God, of hope, may your love blanket the earth, as you teach us to live more generously each day. We pray this through Christ our Lord.
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